Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s FA Cup clash between Manchester United and West Ham United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The Red Devils have beaten Watford and Liverpool to progress to the fifth round of the competition, while West Ham have overcome Stockport County and Doncaster Rovers to advance to this stage.
Man United looked on course to be securing another three Premier League points against Everton on Saturday when they took a 2-0 lead into the half-time interval. The Toffees answered back early in the second half to level the scores at 2-2, but Scott McTominay‘s 70th-minute header sent the home side back ahead.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s team could not hold on in the final moments, though, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin‘s 95th-minute leveller meaning that the points were shared in a 3-3 draw as the 20-time English champions dropped two valuable points in their pursuit of division leaders Manchester City.
Man United are currently second in the table, two points off the summit, but Pep Guardiola‘s side have two games in hand and will have the chance to extend their advantage against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
Solskjaer’s side will now switch their attention to the FA Cup, where they beat Watford in the third round before recording a 3-2 home victory over Liverpool towards the end of January. The Manchester giants are the second-most successful team in this competition behind Arsenal, lifting the trophy on 12 occasions, but they have not triumphed since overcoming Crystal Palace in the 2016 final.
Man United, who suffered a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea in last season’s semi-finals, are entering a busy period of the season as they will face West Bromwich Albion in their next Premier League game on February 14 before taking on Real Sociedad twice in the Europa League either side of a clash with Newcastle United in the league.
West Ham, meanwhile, will enter Tuesday’s clash off the back of a goalless draw with Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday; both sides struggled to create chances at Craven Cottage, and the main talking point came late on when Tomas Soucek was handed a red card following an altercation with Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Soucek appeared to accidentally raise his arm into the head of Mitrovic, but VAR signalled that referee Mike Dean should take a second look, and the experienced official produced a red card after a period of deliberation. The Hammers appealed the decision, though, and were successful, meaning that the midfielder will be available for selection here.
David Moyes‘s side would not have viewed the draw with Fulham as a positive result as they chase down the top four in the league. An impressive campaign to date has left the capital side in fifth position, just a point behind fourth-placed Liverpool, although the picture might have changed by the time that they continue their Premier League campaign at home to Sheffield United on February 15.
West Ham were far from convincing in their third-round FA Cup clash with Stockport County as they recorded just a 1-0 win, but the Hammers thumped Doncaster Rovers 4-0 at the London Stadium last time out.
The capital outfit have won this competition on three occasions, the last of which was in 1980, while they reached the 2005-06 final, losing to Liverpool on penalties after a late Steven Gerrard effort had levelled the scores at 3-3, and Moyes will be desperate to get one over on his former side on Tuesday night.
Manchester United FA Cup form: WWWLWW
Manchester United form (all competitions): WWLDWD
West Ham United FA Cup form: WLWLWW
West Ham United form (all competitions): WWWLWD
The home side will also be without key midfielder Paul Pogba, who was forced off the field in the first half against the Toffees due to a thigh problem. The World Cup winner is facing “a few weeks” on the sidelines, meaning that he will be absent for a number of key matches.
Solskjaer is expected to resist the temptation to make alterations for this match, with Fred for Pogba potentially the only outfield change, although Dean Henderson should come in for David de Gea between the sticks.
Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic are perhaps the two players pushing the hardest to be involved in the starting XI, but Man United are not back in action after this match until Sunday, and Solskjaer could therefore keep faith with the side that impressed going forward against Everton.
Andriy Yarmolenko could also be handed a spot in the final third, with Michail Antonio potentially being rested due to the volume of muscular problems that the Englishman picks up. Jesse Lingard, meanwhile, is ineligible to face his parent club on Tuesday night.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Greenwood; Cavani
West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Fredericks, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell; Noble, Rice; Bowen, Lanzini, Fornals; Yarmolenko
We say: Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United
West Ham are more than capable of picking up a win at Old Trafford, but it remains to be seen whether Moyes selects a full-strength team. Man United will be desperate to bounce back from the disappointment of the Everton draw, and we just fancy Solskjaer’s side to edge a tight encounter on Tuesday.
Top betting tip
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